CONSUMER ALERT: Talk America Services prepares to exit Michigan market

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LANSING (WLNS):

Do you use Talk America Services?

If so, you’ll want to consider looking into a new telephone service provider.

As TAS prepares to exit Michigan’s local exchange market, the Michigan Public Service Commission announced today it is posting a list of alternative providers of voice telephone service for customers who will need a new provider.

In August 2019, TAS filed notice (Case No. U-20623) proposing to discontinue providing basic local exchange and toll service for its Michigan customer base, at the time about 4,600 customers. As of Jan. 10, TAS reported having 1,768 customers.

The MPSC in a Dec. 19 order found that TAS had complied with state and federal requirements for serving notice of the discontinuance of service. The MPSC received a dozen complaints or comments from TAS customers about the lack of availability of alternative providers of comparable voice service with reliable access to 911 and emergency services.

The Commission then commenced an investigation into the availability of comparable voice service, directing all incumbent local exchange carriers and competitive local exchange carriers operating in TAS’s service area to file statements listing all of the specific types of comparable voice service with reliable access to 911 and emergency services that they provide in that service area. The Commission also asked TAS to delay discontinuance of service while the investigation took place. It is the Commission’s understanding that TAS has delayed the discontinuance until Feb. 3, 2020.

Since the December order, more than 80 providers filed statements in this case. With today’s order, the MPSC has published a list of alternative providers that offer comparable voice service with reliable access to 911 and emergency services access, on the Commission’s website here.

The MPSC encourages affected customers to make arrangements with alternative providers as soon as possible to avoid disruption of their phone service. Current TAS customers who don’t have access to the Internet or who have other concerns may contact the MPSC’s customer assistance staff at 1-800-292-9555.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the E-Dockets filing system here.

To watch a livestream of the MPSC’s meetings, click here.

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